Government Fleet Top News

Harris County Lights and Sirens on Auction Block

September 16, 2008

HARRIS COUNTRY, TEXAS – Criminals hoping to impersonate police officers could outfit their cars with lights and sirens purchased for hundreds of dollars from any number of online dealers. But the gear also is available for as a little as $26 from Harris County.

Three light bars from atop police cars, a box of strobe lights, and an assortment of siren amps and speakers are up for bid at the county’s online auction site, with pickup available at a warehouse on the city’s east side. The light bars were up to $26 and $27, while the siren amps had fetched a bid of $152.50, according to the Houston Chronicle.

County officials acknowledge the equipment could fall into the wrong hands, but said selling it benefits taxpayers and the volunteer firefighters and small-town police departments that typically buy the emergency items. Junking the gear would be wasteful since similar equipment, along with phony badges, patches, and clothing, is available elsewhere.

County Purchasing Agent Jack McCown, who oversees the auction of surplus items, said officials have considered restricting the sale of police equipment, but could not find a viable way to do that. Such equipment comes up for auction several times a year, he said.

Police vehicles generally are stripped of equipment and the decals and lettering are removed.

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